Transformations, Decompositions, Critiques
Peter Eisenman; Contribution by Giuseppe Terragni, Manfredo Tafuri
Forty years in the making, Giuseppe Terragni: Transformations, Decompositions, Critiques documents and investigates two of Italian rationalist architect Giuseppe Terragni’s masterworks: the Casa del Fascio (1933-36) and the Casa Giuliani-Frigerio (1939-40), both in Como. This far-reaching study — illustrated with more than five hundred original architectural diagrams and archival photographs — employs what Eisenman calls critical and textual reading of both buildings. He attempts to broaden the definition of the formal from a narrow aesthetic and compositional view to include first the conceptual and then the textual. It is through this idea of the textual that Eisenman begins to define an idea of the critical in architecture.
Eisenman’s methodology is wholly removed from traditional approaches — social, historical, aesthetic, functional. Instead, the various articulations and openings on the facades constitute a set of marks, notations that provide the basis for his analysis. In the Casa del Fascio, for example, each of the four sequential design schemes records the previous state, encoding the process of transformation in the final building. In the Casa Giuliani-Frigerio it is instead the process of decomposition that generates the facades. Also included in the book are an essay by Terragni and a critique by Manfredo Tafuri. In the end, it is the dual protagonists — the architect and the author — who together establish a new theoretical and analytical framework.